Bao is a complex Mancala game popular in Tanzania. I have been looking for a Bao board for some time now , and have not found any that are in my budget. So my solution is to make my own. This is a work progress and I hope it encourages you to try building a Bao or Mancala board of your own.
Bao boards are usually hand carved from a single piece of wood, but I thought I would make mine a little different. What I have done cut a 1/4 inch piece of plywood in to a 10 inch by 22 inch rectangle. Then I drew lines with pencil where I wanted the holes to be. Afterward I used a hole saw attached to a drill to cut 2 inch holes in the plywood. The two square holes were cut out using a jigsaw.
The next steps are to sand the wood smooth and glue the board on to another piece wood that will make it’s base. Then I can decide how to decorate it, and what to use for the beads.
I will post more pictures of the board is it moves closer to completion. If you have any thoughts or experiences on making game boards or playing Bao please post them in the comments.
For everyone who is interested in seeing how Bao is played here is a link to a youtube video of some games played on a tradional board.